Mele Kalikimaka!


Wishing you “Mele Kalikimaka” with a Christmas card from one of my favorite artists in the tiki genre, Heather Watts. She makes gorgeous black velvet paintings, like this “South Pacific Santa” from a few years back. Hope you’re having a great holiday!

More Posts with Heather Watts Art:
Book of Tiki Art Exhibition at M Modern Gallery
Everything But the Kitsch’n Sink at La Luz de Jesus


Frosty the Cheeseball Man by Charles Phoenix


If you’re feeling extra festive this holiday season, you may want to try one of the wacky and wonderful Test Kitchen ideas from Charles Phoenix, the “Ambassador of Americana” who promotes fantastic vintage kitsch through books, tours and slideshows. (He also had the honor of riding on the City of Downey’s tiki float in last year’s Rose Parade.) His “food-crafting” projects include the Astro Weenie Christmas Tree (as seen on Conan O’Brien) and the Cherpumple (a cherry, pumpkin and apple pie takeoff on the turducken).

(Photo from Charles Phoenix on Facebook)


Last year I vowed that we would attempt to make Frosty the Cheeseball Man. This “jolly, happy soul” is made of Velveeta cheese with a layer of cream cheese “snow,” plus olive and bell pepper accoutrements. I named him Tiny Tim because he couldn’t stand up without being propped up by a pretzel stick crutch.


…Frosty the Snowman
Knew the [electric skillet] was hot that day


So he said let’s run
And we’ll have some fun
Now before I melt away
[Into processed cheese dip]


Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Look at Frosty go…

Tiki Turkey Dinner by Charles Phoenix

For a Thanksgiving-themed Test Kitchen project a few years back, Charles Phoenix made a Tiki Turkey Dinner complete with a Moai meatloaf centerpiece, Hawaiian bread stuffing, and coconut curry green bean casserole. Maybe next year we should throw a holiday luau!

(Photo from

Related posts:
City of Downey’s Rose Parade Tiki Float
Tiki Holiday Gift Guide 2012
Tiki Wonderland at the Tonga Hut 2010

Tiki Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Need a little help with your holiday shopping? Here’s some gift ideas for the tiki lover on your list…

1. The Martiki mug ($20) from Psycho Suzi’s


A tiki mug is an obvious choice, but which one? One of my favorites to debut this year was the latest signature mug from Psycho Suzi’s, The Martiki, which was designed by Tiki tOny and produced by Tiki Farm. As a rule, Tiki Farm doesn’t sell these locale-specific mugs on their web site, but lucky for you Psycho Suzi’s has an online gift shop! This was gifted to me by Mr. Baseball’s family and I must say it’s even better in person.

Also worth mentioning is the Tiki Temptress Classic Cocktails Set from Fluff designer Claudette Barjoud and Tiki Farm. If you’re looking for something more festive, the Tiki-Ti has just recently made their Santa-themed Kahuna Kalikimaka mug available for shipping (ordering details can be found on their Facebook page).

2. The DVD of Tiki: Volume 1 – Paradise Lost ($29)


I had the pleasure of seeing (and purchasing) “The DVD of Tiki: Volume 1” when it screened at the Egyptian Theatre this summer. This 95-minute documentary by Jochen Hirschfeld chronicles how and why tiki bars became popular and then passé. As I said before, it’s really is a must-buy for anyone that’s into tiki. Order it at — shipping is available all over the world.

3. Classic Dining: Discovering America’s Finest Mid-Century Restaurants by Peter Moruzzi ($20)


Last month, Peter Moruzzi (Palm Springs Holiday, Havana Before Castro) released his latest book Mid-Century Dining: Discovering America’s Finest Mid-Century Restaurants. His tribute to white-tablecloth, Continental restaurants and classic steakhouses spotlights several restaurants in particular, including the Mai-Kai which also happens to be featured on the cover. (At the book signing party at La Luz de Jesus gallery, Moruzzi told me it’s a never-before-published illustration that had been framed in one of the back rooms of the Mai-Kai.) Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and Tiki Modern, contributed many photographs to the book as well as the profile of the Mai-Kai and a chapter on “The Rise and Fall of the American Tiki Temple.”

James Teitelbaum (Tiki Road Trip) also has a new book this year entitled Destination Cocktails: The Traveler’s Guide to Superior Libations, compiling the world’s best bars including tiki spots like Smuggler’s Cove, PKNY, Mai-Kai and Tiki-Ti.

4. Don Tiki’s Hot Lava Holiday Shows


December is your chance for merry-making with Don Tiki, the Honolulu-based exotica music group. They will have three performances of their Hot Lava Holiday Show: December 15 at the Doris Duke Theatre in Honolulu, December 17 at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and December 20 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. For the geographically challenged, Don Tiki has a Hot Lava Holiday Show EP just recently posted on iTunes. It includes such tongue-in-cheek tunes as “Havana Gila” (yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking) and carol-infused “Silent Village” — especially appropriate as the band includes percussionist Lopaka Colón, whose father, Augie Colon, contributed jungle and bird calls on Martin Denny’s 1956 hit “Quiet Village.”

5. Holiday Tiki Ornaments by Polynesiac ($12-$25)


Our Christmas tree is being gradually tiki-fied as I’ve been collecting Polynesiac’s holiday tiki ornaments, which are hand casted and painted to look like carved wood. For 2012, he has a new design based on the “tiki babies” that fall from the flowers of the Tangaroa tree at the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. There are other awesome ornaments ranging in price from $12-$25, depending on the amount of hand-painting. Bonus: shipping is only $2 for the entire order. His Etsy shop has limited quantities, so act fast!

Related Posts:
Tiki Night at the Egyptian Theatre: The DVD of Tiki
Tiki-Ti’s “Kahuna Kalikimaka” Tiki Mug
Tiki Nutcracker at Target